Thursday, March 14, 2013

Former Cleveland Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott sentenced for bribery



Sabra Pierce Scott

By Kathy Wray Coleman , Editor of Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog,.Com(www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com) and (www.clevelandurbannews.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio- The never-ending Cuyahoga County corruption probe that has stung the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and netted to date over 60 guilty pleas or convictions, including two former common pleas judges, former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora, and prior county auditor Frank Russo, has dipped into Cleveland City Hall and into Cleveland's Black community as former Cleveland City Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott was sentenced on Tuesday in U.S. district court in Cleveland to 3 years probation for taking bribes.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Boyko also sentenced the former city lawmaker, who appeared in court with more than 60 supporters, to eight months house arrest. 

She had pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors, allegedly including a deal to get Councilman Jay Westbrook to retire, which he did earlier this week. She was once a Westbrook protege, and one of former Cleveland Council president George Forbes, an attorney who also served as Cleveland NAACP president and general counsel for the Call and Post Newspaper.   

Pierce Scott, 54, is now a full time student seeking a master's degree at Case Western Reserve University. She served as the majority leader of Cleveland City Council under Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.  

After abruptly resigning mid-term in 2009 under a cloud of suspicion, she was Jackson's campaign manager relative to the 2009 non-partisan mayoral runoff against Bill Patmon, a current state representative whom she upset in 2001 to snatch the Ward 8 council seat, a high powered political position representing Cleveland's historical Glenville neighborhood on the city's majority Black east side of town that is now held by Councilman Jeff Johnson. 

The criminal information, which was issued instead of an indictment since Pierce Scott cooperated with federal prosecutors, accuses her of taking $2 thousand in cash from developer Michael Forlani, a former president of Doan Pyramid Electric and top owner with Veterans Development LLC, a company that was vested with a $1.25 million contract from the City of Cleveland to build a parking garage and apartment building to boaster the nearby Louis Stokes VA Medical Center.

In exchange for the money and a job for her son, the information accuses the former councilwoman, who served eight years before resigning, of pushing the land project and legislation for tax breaks for Forlani, and for his companies, and of helping them to buy land owned by the city.

Forlani was convicted earlier this year of corruption related crimes with help from testimony from Pierce Scott.

He will be sentenced April 1.

(www.clevelandurbannews.comReach Cleveland Urban News.Com by email at editor@clevelandurbannews.com and by phone at 216-659-0473.